Tag Archives: breakfast

Ireland Days 2-6 (Dublin)

13 Jun

Note: I wrote this while still in Dublin but have taken a week or so to edit and polish it, so this all actually took place May 24-28, 2015 in spite of when I’m posting it.

So much to catch up on! A lot has happened since my last post and I haven’t even had the time to slow down and just write. I’m still in Dublin, but I have seen and learned tons in just a short few days.   

Dublin the day I arrived

  Once I bussed into Dublin from Swords I trekked to my first Hostel and the experience was everything I could need to give me the best impression of hostel living. The place was an old renovated music studio geared towards musicians and artsy types with comfy beds, clean bathrooms and delightful staff. I was the only girl in a room full of foreign guys my first night. I didn’t make any new friends there as they mostly kept to themselves so I went out on my own around Central Dublin and the Temple Bar District. It was of course packed with tourists. Not feeling satisfied at the idea of drinking a pint with a bunch of Americans (I can do that at home anytime) I wandered the streets peering into countless pubs, hoping to sense a vibe that drew me in. Several British guys came pouring out of a bar at one point and seemed interested in my joining their group until they realized I wasn’t drunk and not up for getting into trouble; I safely avoided that little field trip but found out I was “a lovely American lass”.

Around midnight, feeling a little disappointed but mostly content with how much I had seen walking around, I was heading back to my hostel when an Irish band (here called a “trad”) in a pub was playing music so lively that I couldn’t walk away. I went into the place and found a crowd dancing heartily to a guitar, banjo and hand drums. I didn’t even need a drink, I was so happy to just dance alone and feed off the energy of the group. After an hour I was jumping around and laughing with several Irish girls when a British fellow approached me and offered me a beer. I was all too happy to accept and closed out the night with a few more dances and my lovely new group of British gentlemen walking me safely back to my accomodations. I got to know them a little on the walk, but let them down gently at the door as their drunken attempts at flirting were low on my list of activities. I was in too good a mood to spoil things with something as silly as drunk boys.

The next day I toured Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells and The Long Room, which in simple terms are a really old book and a really old library with more really old books. This description should not be taken as me selling the experience short, as I spent a long while sitting alone staring up at the ceiling of the Long Room just soaking in the beauty and history of it all. I find myself so like my mother at times, on the verge of tears whenever I see something historically important or architecturally beautiful. It is as though the magnitude of its importance threatens to break and overwhelm me. People rushing around me taking selfies and only winessing the Long Room through a camera lens eventually faded into the background as I allowed myself to meditate a little and appreciate how far I had traveled and how much it has already affected me.  

The Long Room at the old library of Trinity College

 I later found myself out with a handsome Irish gentleman who took me all about Dublin on what felt like a private historical mini tour. We talked about culture and politics and life and I had moments where I looked at myself from the outside and realized I was right in the midst of the exact moment I had pictured in an ideal dream. The man was charming, kind, brilliant and very attentive to my stories and opinions; a true gentleman and scholar with no pressure for anything but lovely company. I hardly recognized the scene or myself; all of it had me at what I feel is the pinnacle version of me. Nothing fake or put on, but a girl I have lost touch with in my day to day life of habit at home. I have been so wrapped up in grieving, or pretending not to grieve or working or trying to maintain my adult life that I had potentially lost touch with who I really want to be. It has nothing to do with the guy really, he was just kind enough to really see me as I am and I’m finding myself in new found joy. When I connect as that girl, I feel brilliant, fun, vibrant and kind; the woman I want to harness and be as much as possible.

Staying in the room at my second hostel for the next few nights (located in the heart of Temple Bar directly next door to the namesake) I met Patrick from the west coast of the States. He was planning to visit the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery so I siezed the opportunity to have a buddy for those trips.  I was already planning on going but I couldn’t have wished for someone better than Patrick to join.

Patrick and me on his 40th at the Guinness Storehouse

 I think for the historical stuff, I am finding I like the solitude and ability to sit and take it in at my leisure, but for drinking the company is perfect. It turns out that the day we went to Guinness, Patrick was celebrating his 40th birthday and I made it my personal goal to jam pack every minute with fun for him. We had a natural, nice back and forth as we both brought out each others goofy side. We laughed so much my core hurt by the end of the day in the best way possible. I told everyone we spoke to about Patrick’s big day and we ended up getting special treatment all throughout the Guinness facilities. With our special widowside table at the top of the giant pint glass we overlooked Dublin and the landscape beyond while I feasted on the best mussles I’ve ever tasted. Our waiter Antonio continually brought special reserve recipes of newer brews, not yet released outside the city and we ended up committing our entire day to that venture. We finished off his special day at a perfect Irish dive, Dice Bar, joined by what I would call a devistatingly tall and handsome local who asked not to be named. I would call the whole day a complete success.

The next day we kept the trend of combined travels going with an Irish breakfast and my first Irish coffee of the trip (but far from my last) at a pub that claims to be the oldest in Ireland. Then Patrick and I ended our time together after a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery. We were both about 3 Irish coffees and two Jamesons into the day so our parting was fittingly sentimental. It is rare to find a friend you are so comfortable with so quickly but I suspect we will be friends long past this trip. 

Taking any opportunity to ham it up.

 My last full day in Dublin was today and I have made the most of it. I visited the Kilmainham Gaol (their spelling of “jail”) and saw a lot of rocks and a lot more rocks where people were apparently executed.  Also, more rocks.

Important people were exectuted by these rocks. Long story.

 They love that sort of thing here, rocks and history. I’m beginning to have an appreciation for it myself, and I love how much I’m learning about their history, gruesome as most of it is. Next I rode the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus all over the city to see parks and monuments and hear a more detailed history of each. I visted the National Gallery, which boasted Picasso and Monet. I’m sad to say I think they shouldn’t advertise that because based on the two pieces in their collection they might have been the selections even the artists mothers felt “weren’t their strongest efforts”. Between that and the fact that only two rooms were open (one of which was Modern “art” color slabs on walls with titles like Raindew and Yellow Feelings; nothing makes me angrier except maybe Jackson Pollock) and I found the six or so remaining wings closed for renovations. I felt free entry was pushing it in terms of getting some culture for the cost. They should have paid me for time spent, or at least offered wifi so I could have googled “hamsters hugging other hamsters”. I looked it up now and it turned up some incredible stuff. 

Not quite hugging, but OH MY WORD!

Now that is a good hamster hug

  Now I am enjoying a Guinness in O’Dohrety’s Pub waiting for a handsome Dublin fellow to show me his local haunts. I’m hoping to find a place with all Irish folks and less tourists.  I’m optimistic about my final evening wandering this city with my guide. 

Looking worse for wear at O’Dohrety’s after a long day walking about.

  Tomorrow I head south to Cork where I hear the accents are a little different but charming as ever and the scenery is supposed to be breathtaking. More adventures to come.

Things I’ve learned:

  • Irish guys are total gentlemen almost to the point of being a bit passive. It’s lovely.
  • There are no fruits or vegetables in this country; they will tell you potatoes are vegetables and they are all you need.
  • Irish people don’t want to serve you water, they want to serve you pints, and I’m either dangerously dehydrated or adapting as a lizard would in drought.
  • If you think about it (and I have) Guinness contains water and hops, which are green plants; thus I deem Guinness to be “salad water”. Problems solved.
  • Guys take more time in hostel bathrooms than girls do. I mean a LOT more time; I assume they are choreographing Irish Step dances because I don’t want to think about other reasons why they are in there.
  • The statues in Dublin can be a little wild.  

    This is Molly Malone; she is a big deal.

     
  • “Cockles and Mussles” are what Molly is pushing in her cart in said statue. A British couple who saw me taking this picture simply said “cockles and mussles” to me and I asked them if that was how they referred to lady parts in the UK. It is not. That is what she is pushing in her cart.
  • Thankfully the British find me charming enough to laugh off my being an idiot. The jury is out on how the Irish feel, they either think I’m adorable or a lost cause.
  • Irish Breakfast every single day was my best idea ever and I would guess I’ve eaten all the pork products. 
  • Black pudding = awesome and anyone who told me I shouldn’t try it is no longer on my trusted “life advice list”. 

    John saw this on my Dublin map before I left so this is for him

     

Worst Ways To Wake Up In The Morning

27 Oct

I’ve been having a hard time sleeping in for some time now and many mornings I don’t feel at all refreshed. There are some things that start your day on the worst note and here are my top 5:

1. Waking up shortly before your alarm- On days when I wake up and see I have 4 minutes until my alarm goes off I will never make the reasonable choice to get up and turn the alarm off and start my day with the extra time. I know that four minutes isn’t enough time to really fall back asleep or even relax and wake up slowly, but I cannot be stopped. I feel like time is my boyfriend and we are in a huge fight and I am closing my eyes just to show him those minutes belong to me. I’m no better off for having done this but I feel so robbed. I love the feeling of waking up hours before my alarm goes off and peacefully dozing back off, knowing I have plenty of time left to dream, but that is so rarely how this goes down.

The craziest thing is that if I hadn’t set an alarm at all, when I woke up I would simply get out of bed. The feeling of not being refreshed seems to merely come from my anger at the pre set alarm time. I will not yield. I will take my four minutes every damn time.

2. Super warm bed vs. freezing cold apartment- That run from the bed to the thermostat could be a YouTube sensation if anyone ever caught me on camera. I’m like a remedial ostrich convinced that her own tail feathers were trying to kill her.

ostrich

AHHHH!

3. Nothing to eat- To everyone who skips breakfast: um… WHAT?! Are these people aware the breakfast can include (but is not limited to) eggs, bacon, waffles, pancakes, cereal, cream of wheat, lasagne, moose tracks ice cream and crab rangoon? This is the meal that defines the whole day, make it count and make it spectacular. Unless you haven’t been grocery shopping in a while and all you can find to eat is a can of refried beans and laughing cow cheese. In that case, make a cheesy bean mash up in a bowl and try not to let your tears over-salt the mixture.

4. Morning off interrupted by forgotten appointment- When I know I have somewhere to be on a given day, I have no problem. When I think I have the morning off and suddenly remember I have obligations, I get frantic. Even if I have plenty of time to get ready and even if it was something I would have formerly enjoyed, the surprise element makes me irate. If my plan was to watch Battlestar Galactica for hours with giant bowls of cereal, I take that seriously and don’t want to abandon the task. Who needs a job interview anyway? If I’m right for the position the company should just feel it in their bones and hire me sans interview. Let’s save gas and the planet here people.

5. Where am I?- This is best followed up by a shame trip to the taco bell drive-through on the drive home. I have recently learned that they don’t serve beef supreme gorditas until after 9am. However the breakfast burritos are just mediocre enough to fill your system with indignity.

Muffins Are Deceitful

5 Feb

Muffins are the jerks of the breakfast world.

Some things about jerks:

  • Usually we are drawn to them.
  • They are enticing and usually have some undeniable good qualities.
  • They are not good for anyone.

This all applies to muffins as well.

Let me go back in time to the beginning of my hatred for these baked tricksters. I joined weight watchers my junior year of college and was instantly enlightened about many of the foods I had been eating frequently. The first things cut from my diet were juices and sodas because those proved not to be worth my daily points, I wanted food. After that I was evaluating the points values of my day to day meals and for the most part I knew the things that had been bad for me. I wasn’t shocked about Kraft Mac and Cheese or Moose Tracks Ice Cream, when I was consuming those products before my diet I knew the part they played in my weight gain. One of the only foods that blindsided me was muffins.

In the category of breakfast baked goods bagels are upfront about their carb-tasticness, croissants ooze buttery scents from ten feet away and coffee cakes have dessert in their name and donuts wear their abundance of sugar proudly. I have never heard someone say, “I have a donut for breakfast most mornings, so I know I’m eating healthy.” I have heard people say this about muffins… all the time.

Don't be swayed; stay strong. They are lying to you!

Don’t be swayed; stay strong. They are lying to you!

WE ARE BEING DECEIVED!

Many of the muffins being offered alongside these other options are worse than some of them combined.

I did some digging and here are some fun things I learned:

  1. Eating two donuts is less points than one muffin (that is not an endorsement for eating two donuts).
  2. Drinking three small orders of Caramel Mocha Coffee with cream is equal to one reduced fat muffin.
  3. One deluxe grilled cheese with bacon is less points than a regular muffin.

Muffins are cake; I know this. If I’m going to eat cake I want to go into it knowing what the situation is all about and I want there to be frosting as an indicator. A muffin is really like an UN-frosted cupcake with fruit jammed inside. Don’t misunderstand, I love jamming fruit into my meals but that alone does not a balanced meal make. Even carrot cake knows its place. It has vegetables jammed inside of it but when I eat it I have the words “cake” and “cream cheese frosting” lingering in the back of my mind as a reminder that this is a splurge.

I am as awesome as a muffin is delicious but I am upfront about my talents and flaws. If I was a muffin, for example, I might apply for a job at NASA and dress like a space engineer and let them believe that I am trained to build a space shuttle even though I can do no such thing. When the big launch day came, chaos. This may seem extreme, but keep eating muffins for breakfast and wait a few months for a big occasion and tell me it doesn’t feel like a disaster when you can’t zip your clothes. That muffin never deserved the job as daily breakfast choice, but it sure dresses up as healthy.

Dammit though, do I go weak in the knees for a grilled muffin. CURSE YOU AND YOUR ADDED BUTTERY GOODNESS!

This fight isn’t over yet muffins, I’m passionate and I will spread the word about your lies.

My original artwork. Needless to say this is why I'm a writer and not a graphic designer.

My original artwork. Needless to say this is why I’m a writer and not a graphic designer.

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